I just returned from Denver for Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018. It was a lot of fun meeting with reps from the outdoor industry’s leading gear manufacturers. There has never been a better offering of footwear for hikers and backpackers than there is now. From ultralight and minimal, to boot-like shoes with steel plates, to max cushioned offerings built for 100+ mile races, I saw it all over the past few days.
One of the most exciting meetings I had at Outdoor Retailer was with Hoka One One. This is probably the fastest growing company in the light hiking and trail running world at the moment. Hoka started a few years ago with max cushioned shoes and took the industry by storm. I now see Hokas regularly on local trails, and also saw a ton of pilgrims wearing them on my Camino Portuguese walk this summer. For those already familiar with Hoka’s trail lineup, you’ll be excited to see refinements to the Speedgoat, Mafate Evo, and Challenger lineup. New for 2019, will be the Arkali, which I will touch on more below.
Hoka One One Arkali (Spring 2019)
The Hoka Arkali is the most exciting new shoe in the Hoka lineup for me. I was blown away when I had this shoe in my hand. It’s built like an approach shoe, with a very durable, protective, and supportive upper. There is also a set of Velcro straps to lock down and adjust the fit around the heel collar. Most importantly, the midsole on the Arkali is firm and stable. Hokas are well known for their plush midsoles that soak up the shock and impact of long days on the trail. This is a great feature for most outings, but there are times when a more stable base is needed. The Arkali will fill that need in the Hoka lineup. This is going to be a phenomenal shoe for technical hiking, backpacking, and outings on rough terrain.
The Arkali also comes equipped with a full coverage Vibram Megagrip outsole for traction, grip, protection, and durability. Many trail shoes use outsole cutouts to minimize weight and maintain underfoot flexibility. This can come at the cost of durability and protection. The Arkali has you covered here, with a super aggressive full coverage outsole that looks like it’s going to handle the roughest of terrain.
Hoka Speedgoat 3 (Spring 2019)
The Speedgoat 3 is Hoka’s most popular and best selling trail shoe. I can’t remember the last time I made my way out onto a popular trail and didn’t see at least one runner in a pair of Speedgoats. For 2019, Hoka is not going to mess with a good thing. The Vibram Megagrip outsole and 4mm drop midsole of the Speedgoat will remain unchanged. The refinements will come in the upper. TPU overlays will provide better lateral stability through the midfoot, and an overlay gusset on the toebox will provide a more adaptable fit up front.
Hoka Evo Mafate 2 (Fall 2019)
The Hoka Evo Mafate has been seen on the podiums of many world renown trail races this year, and is a shoe of choice for many of Hoka’s elite sponsored runners. Much like the Speedgoat 3, the much loved 4mm drop midsole and Vibram Megagrip outsole will remain unchanged. Refinements will come in the upper. Hoka is still using a MATRYX upper fabric that is lightweight and retains virtually no moisture. This upper also retains the Kevlar stabilizers that lock down the midfoot.
The newest addition to the upper is a toebox overlay gusset, much like the new addition to the Speedgoat 3. This will allow the Evo Mafate 2 to stretch and accomodate the splay of the foot without feeling too wide or sloppy.
Hoka Challenger ATR 5 (Winter 2018)
The first Hoka Challenger was the very first Hoka shoe I ever wore. The Challenger ATR series is now being updated for v5 and will be the first version to offer wide sizes. The upper on the Challenger 5 has minor refinements over v4, keeping the midfoot wrap underneath an open mesh. The midsole will be a little more firm for v5, but keeps the 5mm drop. The outsole gets a brand new design design with flatter lugs designed for tame trails, hardpack, and asphalt.
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These are the newest additions to Hoka One One’s 2019 trail shoe lineup! Are you excited for the new offerings? Let me know with a comment below.